Big MacIntyre’s use in the Oilers lineup has been given much debate on this here blog, as well as other blogs and forums out there. What good is an enforcer that can’t enforce?
Well, yesterday the Edmonton Sun had an article about the big man. I think he’s starting to get it, but that remains to be seen, if he can keep it going. Here’s the quote that made me feel like it finally clicked somewhere in his brain:
The times that I’ve been in, I feel I was a little hesitant. The last couple of games, I wanted to go out there and be a little more aggressive. I’m not going to find too many guys willing to go. I was talking to my dad the other day and he said you have to go there and do something, get something going.
Smart man, that MacIntyre Sr. We’ve mentioned it here before several times. If they won’t go with you when you ask them, then make them come to you. It’s how Boogaard has made a living.
It’s not an easy job for MacIntyre at all, there is a lot of risk involved. He can’t just throwdown anytime, as a guy that makes league minimum can’t really afford to take any suspensions, should he start racking up instigator penalties. He also doesn’t want to be a guy Renney is scared to put on the ice because he thinks he might go out and take a dumb penalty. He’s got to walk a pretty thin line in order to be useful without hurting his club.
At any rate, it does sound like something clicked in MacIntyre recently.. perhaps what his dad said. We’ll just have to wait and see. The thing is, Renney isn’t going to come out and completely define things for him. MacIntyre (and his ilk) have to figure out parts of their roles on their own. But for sure the best way for him to make himself useful is to go out and hit anything that moves and let the action come to him.
I’m not so sure that the traditional enforcer exists anymore, however. I think they’ve transformed from enforcer (a guy who protects his teammates) to shit disturber (a guy that goes out and stirs up trouble until someone takes exception). I guess basically his ideal role is nothing more than a very large agitator – a Matt Cooke that can fight.
I know most of you folks dislike J.F. Jacques, but once he was back on the 4th line last year, I thought that he was initiating things well, and getting other teams off their game by thinking about him. He would border on the line of dirty with some of his hits, and throw the mitts down when needed.
It’s really time for this team to start playing tougher… we all know it. This team is horrible at reacting… perhaps it’s because of the strict rule book. But we shouldn’t even worry about reacting.. we should be proactive, launch a preemptive strike and have these guys like MacIntyre, Jacques, Vandermeer, Peckham and such make it very difficult on the opposing team to play against us (credit due to Vandy and Peckham who have been good at that.. especially Peckham). We can either react to the battles that the other team starts for us and be in defensive mode, or we can start the battles ourselves and then pick which fights we want to have and who we want to fight with. In my opinion, this is the new NHL.
If you can’t go to them, make them come to you.